Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus)

Punta Tombo, Argentina, January 12, 1993

We go bumpity bump in the Scuzio (our nickname for the Fiat Spazio we rented) for 2.5 hours over 110 km of dirt road to get to Punta Tombo from Trelew. The drive takes a couple of hours and is very dusty, but it's all worthwhile to get to see 0.5 million penguins on the loose at Punta Tombo.

Punta Tombo did not disappoint, and we put aside any fears that the penguins may have all "gone fishing". We parked and spent the next 3 hours observing the Magellanic penguins coming and going around us. One half million penguins summer along this stretch of beach at Punta Tombo. They head north to spend their winters in Brazil. There are clearly marked pedestrian trails for people to stay in, but these are completely ignored by the penguins, some penguins even dig their nests and set up house in the middle of the paths.

The penguins are not very concerned about people and just carry on with their business. Many of the penguins are asleep in burrows or standing under scrubby bushes watching the passing parade of humans and other penguins. There were many young penguins standing around chirping for attention but not getting much of it. The young are distinguished by their uniformly gray coloration and (apparent) lack of oil on their feathers.

Read more of our travel log A Trip to the End of the World or look at more of our Magellanic Penguin Photos.

It was nearly 22 years before we saw our next Magellanic Penguins in the Falkland Islands.

We made our first zodiac landing of our Southern Ocean Expedition on wildlife-rich New Island in the Falklands. The weather was fantastic and conditions couldn't have been better for our introduction to the process of getting on and off the ship via a gangway leading to a bobbing zodiac that would zip us to shore.

We saw the first penguins of the trip, our old friends the magellanics.

Read more of our Southern Ocean Expedition travel log.

More of our Bird List

Lynn and John Salmon <>{